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Category archives for: Americana

From Polish and Italian to Arabic and Creole: The Changing Sound of the American Street

| October 11, 2014

One-fifth of Americans now speak a language other than English at home. Fastest-growing are Arabic and Creole, though Spanish and Chinese are still the number 1 and 2 languages after English.

Lillian Gobitas Klose, Who Defied Mandatory Pledge of Allegiance, Is Dead at 90

| September 7, 2014

Lillian Gobitas Klose was 12 when she was expelled from school for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Eight years later, in the midst of World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court vindicated her decision.

Room For Debate:
Should The Washington Redskins Change Name?

| June 22, 2014

The U.S. Patent Office’s decision to block trademarks for the Washington Redskins has renewed debate on the NFL team’s name, which Indians find offensive and the team owner and NFL commissioner defend as traditional and respectful. The debate is outlined.

Altered Space: When the Mall
Is a Refuge From Virtual Reality

| April 5, 2014

With America’s slouch toward the virtual at the expense of the real and the human, it is entirely possible that we will become nostalgic for malls as lost relics of interpersonal relations, alongside the courthouse square, the barber shop and the neighborhood bar.

The Slow-Motion Lynching Of President Barack Obama

| January 10, 2014

If this country will lynch a brilliant, civil, kind, humble, compassionate, moderate, articulate, black intellectual we’re lucky enough to have in the White House, argues Frank Schaeffer, we’ll lynch anyone. What chance does an anonymous black man pulled over in a traffic stop have of fair treatment when the former editor of the Harvard Law Review is being lynched?

Deemed “Grossly Offensive,” Satanic Display Is Barred from Florida Capitol’s Christmas Gallery

| December 19, 2013

The state Department of Management Services on Wednesday denied an attempt by “Satanists” to put up a display in the Florida Capitol, which currently showcases a Nativity scene, a Festivus pole made of beer cans, posters from atheists, and a crudely-made Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Holding a Candle to a Citizenship Oath

| December 16, 2013

Twenty-seven ago today I was one among a few hundred Technicolor-skinned and Babel-tongued immigrants who jammed into an enormous hall in Federal District Court in Brooklyn and recited the oath of citizenship. A candle-lighting has marked the occasion every year since.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1939

| December 16, 2013

President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving in 1939, moving it up a week, to accommodate merchants and business still reeling from the Depression. The full text of FDR’s proclamation issued on October 31, 1939.

Nativity Scene in Florida Capitol Will Share Space With Beer-Can Pole Celebrating Festivus

| December 9, 2013

A nearly 6-foot-tall pole made from emptied Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans, marking the Festivus holiday once parodied on Seinfeld, will be put up in the Florida Capitol this week as a not-so-subtle protest to the recent placement of a Christian nativity scene by the Florida Prayer Network.

Proposed Monument Honoring Union Soldiers at Florida’s Olustee Battlefield Sparks Outrage

| December 3, 2013

The bid to add a Union monument to the Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park near Lake City, site of the Civil War’s largest battle in Florida, turned a public hearing into a three-hour bout of recriminations that re-enacted some of the Civil War’s deepest passions.

Of Thanksgiving Day Parades and Friends in Exile

| November 28, 2013

Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS was a bit like being waterboarded, but matters improved very quickly when the channel changed and the aromas of the day began invading the house, along with just the right spirits: Praise be to Beaujolais Nouveau.

The Trouble With Veterans Day

| November 11, 2013

It’s hard to see how, if a war is unjust, it can be heroic to wage it. So it’s flat-out preposterous to claim that everyone who has ever been in the U.S. military is a hero, argues Arnold Oliver, a Vietnam veteran who finds it troubling that Veterans Day has devolved into a hyper-nationalistic worship service of militarism.

Cowardice as Culture: Richie Incognito’s NFL and the Adulation of Brutality

| November 10, 2013

For years, in college and in the NFL, lineman Richie Incognito behaving loutishly and unaccountably on and off the field in an NFL culture that rewards and protects brutality. Jonathan Martin is the rare whistle-blower who reveals ugly truths the league and its fans would too often prefer not to acknowledge, argues Steve Robinson.

1963′s Familiar Bloodstains: Far Right Politics from JFK to Barack Obama

| November 3, 2013

John F. Kennedy was called treasonous and was the target of a relentless far-right campaign to vilify and demolish his presidency by demagogues and media barons whose ideological descendants have unleashed the same tactics on Barack Obama, writes Steve Robinson.

From Romance to Hassle: For Younger Generations, the Car Runs Out of Rhymes

| October 21, 2013

Love of the automobile seems to be the province of old guys, writes Steve Robinson, as expenses, carbon footprints and other means of staying in touch have made an anachronism of getting behind the wheel of a car simply to feel the wind in one’s hair.

Say Farewell to “Antiquated” Highway Call Boxes: Cell-Flush Florida Junks Them

| October 19, 2013

The state Department of Transportation is removing all but a few of the 2,752 push button call boxes from along its highways as personal cell phones have reduced the need for the roadside phones. The removal, estimated to cost around $200,000, has already started.

The Trouble With American Exceptionalism

| September 21, 2013

Do we have moral authority as a nation, asks Cary McMullen. Do we have the humility Obama spoke of, namely that we are acting not in self-interest but in the interest of justice? Are we exceptional not just in our history but in our standing among nations as an exemplar of righteous ideals?

“We Cannot Walk Alone…
We Cannot Turn Back”

| August 28, 2013

Full text and video of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” a brief history of the origins and battles of the Martin Luther King federal holiday, and of the Martin Luther King monument at the Washington Mall.

At Yellowstone, a Cathedral of Peace Glories to the Very Best of America

| August 25, 2013

At Yellowstone National Park, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with children of immigrants from many lands, and alongside those whose greatest hope is to become a U.S. citizen and claim ownership of a small piece of this wondrous landscape, it is impossible to fathom anyone declaring “Take Back America.”

In the Trenches: Anger and Questions From Doctors Who Treat Gunshot Victims

| March 22, 2013

In Colorado, where more people die from gunshots than car crashes, the victims have a profound effect on the physicians who treat them. For some of the doctors on the front lines, the experiences lead to a strong opposition to guns, questions about gun laws and even activism.

One Nation, Without a Clue

| March 21, 2013

If our generations had been around in the 1930s, we’d still be in the Great Depression with prominent lawmakers telling each other we need a smaller government, argues Donald Kaul.

Sarah Palin in Lakeland: Locking and Loading Assault Weapons With Jesus

| March 18, 2013

Sarah Palin urged her faithfuls to “cling to your god, your guns, your Constitution,” a seamless ideology that would have Jesus waving the American flag with one hand and clicking off the safety of his assault rifle with the other, writes Cary McMullen.

Missing Memorials to Two Lost Wars

| March 17, 2013

This week marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, but as Iraq and Afghanistan have been lost, the focus of memorials has shifted from wars to the cult of the soldiers, while victims of war are as always passed over in silence.

What Researchers Learned About Gun Violence Before Congress Killed Funding

| February 26, 2013

President Obama has directed the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence as part of his legislative package on gun control. The CDC hasn’t pursued this kind of research since 1996 when the National Rifle Association lobbied Congress to cut funding for it.

School Security’s Buy-A-Cop Delusions

| February 3, 2013

The Flagler County School board this week will debate adoption of a new security plan that includes adding armed cops in elementary schools. The approach would be costly, ineffective, and more emotional than intelligent. Smarter approaches–and far greater priorities–abound.

Obama II

| January 21, 2013

Far from a dud, as these second inaugurals tend to be, Obama’s today was bracing in its realism, and hopeful, ironically, for having finally shed the imagery of hope for hope’s sake, replacing it with an agenda for equality, little heard of since the days of the New Deal and the Great Society.

The Thanks and Reverence We Owe Undocumented Immigrants

| January 20, 2013

We’ve admitted that these immigrants aren’t going away. Let’s admit our co-dependence, let’s restore their dignity, and America’s, and admit that illegal immigration is as American as apple pie, if not as American as empanadas.

Arming Teachers Isn’t Enough:
A Proposal of Modest Caliber

| January 13, 2013

The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre is proposing having an armed guard in every school. That’s insane, because it’s not enough: teachers, principals, librarians, counselors, bus drivers should all be armed, and of course children, too, should be armed.

Mocking the Pledge of Allegiance

| November 25, 2012

A reporter is fired after only reluctantly mentioning that a city councilman refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance in the latest example of ignorance replacing the very values the Pledge stands for, values that apply especially for those who choose to sit it out.

Astronaut Suni Williams Enthralls 1,000 Flagler Students in a Ham Radio Chat From ISS

| November 16, 2012

Suni Williams, one of the most decorated American astronauts, was 210 miles above Florida as she fielded some 20 questions for 10 minutes from students before a packed audience of 1,000 at Indian Trails Middle School today, in a thrilling, old-fashioned hook up made possible by the Flagler Palm Coast Amateur Radio Club.

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